By David Bass
The N.C. House voted unanimously Wednesday, Aug. 25, to pass a resolution urging Congress and the Biden administration to take additional steps to ensure all U.S. troops, American citizens, and Afghan allies are evacuated from Afghanistan before withdrawing a U.S. presence there.
The resolution comes on the heels of a decision by the Biden administration to abide by an Aug. 31 withdrawal date from Afghanistan, even as the humanitarian crisis grows dire.
The Fayetteville Observer last week reported Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said a brigade combat team of between 3,500 to 4,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division would deploy from Fort Bragg to remain on standby in Kuwait and provide security at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul if needed. A battalion of about 1,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division had already deployed to Kabul, the newspaper reported.
The N.C. resolution passed Wednesday reads: “The House of Representatives urges Congress and President Joe Biden to take additional action regarding the evacuation of American citizens, American troops, ally troops, and Afghan citizens and their families, who helped America fight in the War on Terror and have been properly vetted by the U.S. Department of State, from Afghanistan.”
“Folks who stand with the United States need to know that we’ll have their back at all times,” said House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland. “What’s happening right now is not showing that. … It’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to stand up for these folks as Americans.”
Rep. John Ager, D-Buncombe, spoke in favor of the resolution. He shared that his son — who fought five miles from Kandahar in Afghanistan — is now primarily concerned with ensuring that the Afghan translators and other allies are safely brought out.
“I hope when the time comes that North Carolina will welcome our fair share of these Afghan allies into our state and be willing to take care of them until they can be resettled,” Ager said.
Members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation are also working to provide a safe exit for Americans, allies, and Afghans wishing to leave the country now in the grip of the Taliban.
“My office is assisting hundreds of people still stranded in Afghanistan and trying the best we can to cut red tape and get them evacuated safely,” said Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina in a statement. “The situation is dire. My office is receiving heartbreaking alerts from [Special Immigrant Visas] that the Taliban is going door-to-door tracking them and their families down and they have no way to get to the airport. Time is running out, and we cannot leave our fellow Americans and Afghan allies behind. We need our commander-in-chief to start acting like a leader and use any means necessary to get the job done.”
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican from North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District that includes Fayetteville and Fort Bragg, also released a statement that he has initiated inquiries on behalf of more than 160 Special Immigrant Visa applicants and others still on the ground in Afghanistan needing help from the U.S. State Department.
“I am calling on President Biden to commit to leaving no American or ally behind — regardless of deadlines and regardless of what the Taliban and terrorists say,” Hudson said. “Otherwise, the president should level with the American people that he is signing the death warrants of our allies and their families we are leaving behind.”